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Resident Feral Cats

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Penfield Animal Control Services

Protection and enforcement

Dealing with resident feral cats

The Town of Penfield has determined that there are several feral cat colonies in town. Unfortunately, this problem is not exclusive to Penfield; there are millions of stray and feral cats across the country. The Town of Penfield and New York State do not have policies specifically pertaining to feral cats, or cats in general. 

Penfield Animal Control can give suggestions and tips on how to deter the animals from entering your yard, garden or children’s play areas. 

Trapping feral cats

Town of Penfield Animal Control officers do not trap cats for several reasons. First, many residents have cats that are both indoor and outdoor pets which could mistakenly be trapped. Secondly, time does not allow for constantly retrieving trapped cats transporting them. Lastly, the fate of a trapped feral cat is likely death, as the likelihood of it being domesticated enough to be adopted is slim.

We work with several organizations that help to control feral cat populations. Habitat for Cats is one that is currently working with several colonies in our area. They trap the cats, have them spayed or neutered, and release them back to the capture site. Young kittens can usually be adopted out. This organization also helps with vaccinations to prevent the spread of disease.

 Town of Penfield residents may borrow Have-A-Heart traps for a fully refundable deposit of $25. Traps are issued on Saturdays between 10:00 and 11:00 AM. In the event a cat is trapped, transport of the animal is the responsibility of the homeowner.

Prior to attempting to trap feral cats we ask that you consider alternative solutions. Below are some proven alternatives to trapping


 Some home remedies that have worked across the country:

  • First, inspect your property. If access points allow the feral cats to seek shelter under a shed, deck or other structure close off those areas. (You can call an Animal Control Officer to help with suggestions).
  • To keep the cats out of the garden area plant species of plants cats dislike i.e. Lavender, Pennyroyal, Geraniums and Lemon Thyme. Also try bark or pea gravel as a mulch. Cats prefer softer material.
  • Cats do not like citrus. As a perimeter deterrent try lemon, orange or grapefruit peels in the travel areas in the taller weeds surrounding your yard. You can also spray a concentrated citrus extract diluted with water to cover a larger area. Vinegar also works well.  These methods need to be reapplied every few days or after a rain.
  • Cats tend to shy away from new smells. Certain spices work and can be a cost effective way of deterring the animals. Try fresh ground cinnamon or crushed red or cayenne pepper sprinkled around the perimeter. Fresh coffee grounds also work in some cases. The down side is this process needs to be repeated every few days, especially after a rain.
  • Get the whole family involved with a noise deterrent. Whistles can be used by everyone. After a while the cats are going to get tired of being scared off by a noise that hurts their ears. Remember that this could negatively affect neighbors so this must not be overdone!
  • A dog is a huge deterrent! Cats will most certainly remember when a dog is introduced.
  • To help stop cats using the yard as a toilet: when the feces is picked up, spray the spot with rosemary diluted with water. Cats tend to go in familiar places and avoid new smells.

Some commercial ideas:

  • You can check EBAY for commercial cat repellants
  • There is a product called SHAKE AWAY CAT REPELLANT (Has predator scent in it).
  • A sporting goods store that sells trapping supplies will have predator urine that can be diluted with water. Remember these are feral cats and as such they can relate to predators. This must be reapplied every few days and after rain.
  • Lastly, a motion-sensor sprinkler. This works on the same lines as a motion - sensor light. When an animal breaches the perimeter and sets off the sensor the sprinkler will be engaged. You can find more information on this product at (,)

Penfield Animal Control Department will do all it can, within the limits of the town ordinances and the laws of New York State to help with this problem. For more information please feel free to contact your Animal Control Officers at (585)340-8616. 

Steven E. Schicker

Penfield Animal Control Services Protection And Enforcement

Town of Penfield
3100 Atlantic Ave, Penfield, New York, 14526 - (585) 340-8600
© 2019 Town of Penfield